Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

0-545-17094-XStolen by Lucy Christopher

Published May 4th, 2009 by Chicken House

Cover photo and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N


A girl: Gemma, 16, at the airport, on her way to a family vacation.

A guy: Ty, rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar, eyes blue as ice.

She steps away. For just a second. He pays for her drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what’s happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. To sand and heat. To emptiness and isolation. To nowhere. And expects her to love him.

Written as a letter from a victim to her captor, STOLEN is Gemma’s desperate story of survival; of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare–or die trying to fight it.


Rating: 5 star



This book was one that came to me with very high expectations.  I heard so many rave reviews about it from people that I trust and whose opinion I highly respect.  I was skeptical, surely it couldn’t be this unequivocally great.  I had a hard time finding bad reviews for it at all.  I was hopeful but skeptical after hearing so many wonderful things.  Usually in cases like this, it ends in disappointment.  This time I have to agree with the rave reviews, there is only one word for this book: Wow!

This book starts out simply enough.  Gemma is waiting out a layover in a Bangkok airport with her parents and decides to step away to get a coffee.  She meets a charming and handsome young man who offers to buy her coffee when she doesn’t have the right currency.  She allows him to do so and diverts her attention long enough for him to do the unthinkable, drug the drink and whisk her away before she is aware that anything is wrong.  The next thing Gemma knows, she is being held captive in the middle of a desert in Australia with someone who believes that he saved her from her life.

I spent much of my time during this book disturbed.  No one could possibly deny that something is very wrong with Ty.  He stalked and kidnapped a 16 year old girl and convinced himself that she would thank him for it and they would live happily ever after.  Deluded to say the least.  But I was also surprised that Ty was…well, a complete gentlemen for a kidnapper.  He never took advantage of Gemma or invaded her privacy, which shocked me.  It was my first hint that Ty was going to be a much more complex character than I had first imagined.  Before long I found myself with tears in my eyes as we heard more about him and from him.  Pity is not a common feeling for one to have for someone who kidnaps a teenage girl.  I was stunned by these feelings but still there would be moments where I felt uncomfortable at the same time.  I can’t say anything more or else I’ll spoil something, and I wouldn’t spoil this book for the world.

The method used to write this book is one that I have never seen before but I think it contributed to the overall quality and emotionality of the book.  It is written as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, Ty.  We read about her feelings and experiences and experience them right along with her.  I think this helps us to see her and Ty from a variety of perspectives that weren’t expected.  And the ending.  Oh my God, the ending.  I won’t say much but let’s just say that for about the last 40 pages or so I was sobbing very loudly, embarrassingly, and in public.  I just wanted to crawl in my bed, pull my knees to my chest, and sob until I had no more tears left.  I can’t remember the last time a book elicited such fierce emotions in me.

Following Gemma on this journey was a beautiful thing that will stay with me for a long time.  Even writing this review, as vague on details as it is, made me feel teary eyed again almost a week after I finished the book.  It was such a rollercoaster of emotions that I can’t even begin to describe it in a way that does justice to the story.  I think this book gave me Stockholm syndrome.  Everyone needs to read this book, it is just that good.


Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue

Published September 13th, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company

Synopsis and picture from the Goodreads book page

You can buy this book at B&N / Amazon


To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Rating (out of 5):


Before starting this book, I was not exactly sure what to expect.  I had heard so many things about it and all of them seemed to be good, which seemed very unlikely to me that I had heard nothing but praise about this book.  When it became a monthly read for an online book group, I knew it was time for me to give it a try.  This story was entrancing and yet dark at the same time.  This isn’t some fluffy, happy, cutesy story but it is very deep and emotional.

This story is told through the five year old eyes of Jack.  I think he was the right narrator for a few different reasons but it also presented a challenge.  How do you accurately describe some of the horrific things that happen in this book if your narrator is a mere 5 years old and may not understand it?  It’s a dilemma and there were times that I felt the author struggled with her narrator, but it also made the story better.  In my opinion, having a child be the narrator for the story made the subject matter easier to get through.  As an adult reading his descriptions you knew what was going on, but it was less gritty and thrown in your face and so it made it easier to deal with.  A story about a woman who was kidnapped and held captive as a sexual slave for nearly a decade and who gave birth in this room to her kidnapper’s child is really tough and emotional to read about.  Having it filtered through the eyes of a child lessens the horror a little bit, which allows you to see the story as a whole.

I had two issues with this book, one of them is small and one is rather big.  The small irritation is that sometimes Jack talked like a adult, or made observations that no five year old child would ever really care about.  For example, when Jack makes an observation about how people in the world are always busy and never have time for anything and so stressed.  A kindergarten age child doesn’t look around and think about other people’s stress.  It was moments like that when I felt that the author struggled having a child narrator who couldn’t realistically portray what she wanted to portray in certain instances.

The bigger irritation was how the adults insisted on treating Jack after they were rescued from Room.  Even his Ma kept treating him as if he should have been acting and responding differently.  When he said he wanted to go back to Room his Ma would get angry with him.  I understand that for her it was a prison cell and a torture room, but for Jack it was the ONLY life and existence he ever knew.  It was never a negative place, it was home.  It’s only natural for him to want to go back.  And the other adults did it too.  When Jack took something from a store and tried to leave with it, they were angry with him.  He’s a child for God’s sake!  And a child who has no experience at all in functioning in the outside world!  It made me angry and it made me dislike most of the adults in the book.

The ending of this book, however, washed away any irritation I had with the book.  They get to put their experience to rest and that part brought me to tears.  The moment that Jack stands in the door and says, this isn’t Room anymore, my heart broke and I knew that I loved this book.  It’s very rare that a book brings tears to my eyes, but this one did.  It wasn’t perfect, I mentioned my problems with the book, but it did touch my heart.